FOREVER YOUNG

Rogers sets Dylan’s timeless lyric (composed, writes the renowned author, “in a minute”) to simply drawn and colored cartoon scenes strewn with references to iconic ’60s-era people and places, as well as Dylan songs and albums. The result is a keepsake of the period that will nonetheless speak to modern readers. The archetypal plot follows an eager lad who takes the guitar passed to him by a smiling busker outside Gerde’s Folk City, and at the end passes the instrument in turn to an even younger girl. In between, he sings in the park for the likes of Joan Baez, zooms down Highway 61 in a VW beetle and marches beneath antiwar signs with Martin Luther King Jr. and others. The illustrator provides a partial key at the end, along with the occasional musical recommendation. Modern songs don’t generally make the leap to this format successfully—Dylan’s own Man Gave Names to All the Animals (1999), illustrated by Scott Menchin, being a case in point—but here’s a rare exception. (Picture book. 6-8, Boomers)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-5808-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2008

BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

A BED OF STARS

A lovely vision for small, sensitive existentialists.

Under the desert night sky, Dad helps his child find cosmic comfort.

The vast universe has made a child feel too small despite their close family. Until, the young narrator tells us, they and their father pack their old pickup, driving through the “rubber and french fries” smell of the city and the “sweet and smoky” mountain scent to camp off-road in a remote arroyo. Together they see tiny beetle prints, jump in sand dunes, name birds, build a fire, watch the sunset, and stretch out in the truck bed. A thoughtful, small human, the child admits to being scared of “how big the universe is and how it goes on and on forever.” But equally thoughtful Dad explains that stars, beetles, birds, and even people are made of energy. Angst is not easily tamed, but snuggling and giving the constellations idiosyncratic names help, as does Mom’s back-at-home surprise: glowing stars covering the narrator’s room. In this bed under the stars, this budding philosopher finally feels “at home here in the universe.” It’s a quiet, contemplative tale that might not strike a chord with all readers but will reassure those who share the protagonist’s worries. Delicate, realistic art plays warm orange and brown hues against blues from pale to indigo, balancing (living) warmth and (interstellar) distance. The child and family are light-skinned and redheaded. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lovely vision for small, sensitive existentialists. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1239-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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